A poll released this morning by Christopher Newport University's Wason Center for Public Policy found the majority Virginians surveyed favor the key progressive causes of gay marriage equality and Medicaid expansion.
The poll of 944 registered Virginia voters – 753 of which considered themselves likely voters – found that 52 percent of registered voters support Medicaid expansion, 39 percent oppose and 9 percent had no opinion on the issue.
On gay rights, 55 percent of those polled oppose Virginia's current constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, while 36 percent support the law.
Looking specifically at likely voters, the results found 56 percent oppose the gay marriage ban and 36 favor it, while 51 percent support expanding Medicaid and 42 percent oppose.
The CNU survey also touched on other key issues, including the topics of a gift ban, school vouchers and redistricting.
Of likely voters, 58 percent of those polled oppose the idea of school vouchers and 31 percent support it; 76 percent support a cap on gifts to legislators; 64 percent support the creation of an ethics commission; and 43 percent support establishing an independent redistricting commission and 32 percent oppose.
On Tuesday, a Wason Center analysis showed Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe leading Republican Ken Cuccinelli by 7 percent among likely voters, 46 percent to 39 percent.
Libertarian Robert Sarvis’ 11 percent showing suggests that Virginia’s next governor will be elected with less than 50 percent of the vote for the first time since the Civil Rights era, according to the survey.
The responses to the specific issues posed clearly support McAuliffe's platform more than Cuccinelli's.
“McAuliffe and Cuccinelli don’t always disagree on these big policy issues, but where they do, a majority of voters are siding with McAuliffe,” Dr. Quentin Kidd, director of the Wason Center for Public Policy, commented on the findings. “The partisan divisions still show in the poll, but McAuliffe’s positions appears to resonate across all demographic groups and -- except for Medicaid expansion -- with Independents.”
Kidd's analysis also highlight a lack of voter awareness.
Although all 100 seats in the Virginia House of Delegates are on the ballot and more than half are contested races, according to the poll, four out of five likely voters say they either don’t have a contested House race in their district or they don’t know if they do.
The Wason Center, based in Newport News, conducted the survey from Oct. 8 through Oct. 13. The total margin of error is +/- 3.1 percent; the likely voter margin of error is +/-3.6 percent.